The UW-Madison School of Pharmacy created the first psychoactive pharmaceutical investigation master’s program in the country, which will begin to educate students this coming fall.
The program in Pharmaceutical Sciences will be titled “Psychoactive Pharmaceutical Investigation,” according to a university press release.
This program will be conducted entirely online, covering topics such as pharmaceutical economics, project management, regulatory practice comprehension and the legal structure of controlled substances, including controlled substance laws.
“The point of delivering these mostly online but with some flexibility with those courses that are ideally done in person is to further accessibility,” said Cody Wenthur, an assistant professor in the School of Pharmacy. “This is a first of its kind masters program and we felt that it was important that people across the country and potentially beyond have access to this unique resource and not be tied to particular geographic arrangements.”
The 31-graduate credit program can be completed in two years, with a one-year accelerated option coming in the fall of 2022. Scholarships are available, including opportunities with specific availability to individuals from underrepresented backgrounds studying in this field.
“We feel strongly that it is important to have a rigorous program that trains students to not only be excellent scientists but also excellent practitioners that work within the legal structures and ethical bounds of the profession at the highest level,” Wenthur said.
Wenthur emphasized his excitement and how he will “look forward to offering this unique opportunity to students.” The program looks into specific topics surrounding central nervous system (CNS) drug design action and application, drug history, appropriate uses of abused drugs and seminar courses that look at current trends pertaining to drug discovering developments. was developed in conjunction with training programs through the Division of Continuing Studies as well as specific online training programs to optimize online delivery, according to Wenthur.
“Students who end up graduating with a master’s in pharmaceutical sciences often have job titles like research scientists or for a pharmaceutical company,” said Wenthur. “We fully expect that our graduates will take on these roles hopefully within the specific practice area of looking at psychoactive pharmaceuticals.”
The School of Pharmacy — specifically the Psychoactive Pharmaceutical Investigation program — maximizes collaboration between professors in the School of Pharmacy and professors based in other university schools. The school is also seeking contributions from approximately four other colleges within UW-Madison, including the College of Letters & Science and the School of Business.
“It really is a group effort and I think it is a testament to the collaborative potential and reality of UW,” Wenthur stated.
The Psychoactive Pharmaceutical Investigation program hopes to develop “really important” internship opportunities in the future and “developing relationships [with] active members of the research community,” according to Wenthur. The School of Pharmacy currently hosts multiple internship opportunities for students, but the incoming Psychoactive Pharmaceutical Investigation program will complete its first year before addressing the start of any internship opportunities, according to Wenthur.
“Several pharmaceutical companies as well as targets in other spaces such as the legal space we are in talks with to help provide not just internships in the future but also to help support students while they are in the program by providing information about their business, research and potential job opportunities with professional development,” said Wenthur.
Students will also have the option to pursue a 12-credit Capstone Certificate in Psychoactive Pharmaceutical Investigation, which can go toward MS degrees but stand as a “non-degree alternative” to the Psychoactive Pharmaceutical Investigation program, the press release said.
The certificate allows students to choose their field of specialization and to commit to fewer credits. Students working in the pharmaceutical field who want a certificate and quick training can pursue this option as well.
Students can apply for the fully online Psychoactive Pharmaceutical Investigation program by July 31 if seeking fall enrollment or Oct. 31 for spring enrollment.